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Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
March 2009

Vol. 14, No. 13 Week of March 29, 2009

Petro-Canada major Alaska leaseholder

There is an Alaska impact from the Suncor Energy merger with Petro-Canada announced March 23.

While not an operator in the state, Petro-Canada is a major oil and gas leaseholder on both state and federal acreage in Alaska.

The company is a big player in the Brooks Range Foothills and in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and is a partner with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in drilling this winter at Gubik.

Petro-Canada came to Alaska in 2001, taking 56 tracts of 170 receiving bids in a North Slope Foothills areawide oil and gas lease sale, some 322,560 acres in the southern half of the sale area, paying almost $2.5 million.

The company’s interest was in natural gas — and still is: Gubik is a gas prospect.

Mark Myers, then director of the Division of Oil and Gas, said after the 2001 sale that the state considered the foothills to be a gas province, especially in the south where the reservoir quality of the rocks made oil fields less likely.

Wells drilled on state lands in the area “all had gas shows in them,” Myers said.

A spokesman for Calgary-based Petro-Canada said the purchase “is another card in our deck. We’re positioning ourselves for future exploration and development and the prospect of getting gas out of Alaska to the North American market.”

Petro-Canada has acquired and relinquished state oil and gas leases since 2001; its current share in state leases is 295,520 acres.

Petro-Canada has also acquired federal acreage in the state. It has 622,922 net acres in NPR-A on the western side of the North Slope, 92,807 acres in partnership with Anadarko (a one-third interest in 278,448 acres; BG is the third partner) and 530,115 acres in partnership with FEX (interests ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent in 1.24 million acres).

Staked wells in 2006

While Petro-Canada has not operated in Alaska, it staked eight well locations on NPR-A acreage in 2006, but in early 2007 announced a partnership on that NPR-A acreage with FEX as operator.

Petro-Canada began partnering with Anadarko in early 2005 for exploration in the Foothills — with Anadarko as the operator.

The Anadarko agreement involved pooling of more than 1.5 million acres of state and Arctic Slope Regional Corp. lease holdings. Petro-Canada said the two companies had a strong land position in the area, much of it contiguous, and shared a common view of the potential of the area.

Drilling that Anadarko is doing this winter at Gubik is on some of this partnership acreage.

Anadarko’s Foothills land base was established in 1998 when it gained exclusive exploration rights over 3.3 million acres of ASRC land; it exercised lease rights on 1.1 million acres in 2001.

—Kristen Nelson






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